Research by scientists at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center’s Norton Thoracic Institute was published in the July 12, 2017 issue of Science Translational Medicine titled, “Zbtb7a induction in alveolar macrophages is implicated in anti-HLA-mediated lung allograft rejection.”
This research was conducted at the laboratories of Thalachallour Mohanakumar, PhD and Deepak Nayak’s PhD at the Norton Thoracic Institute in Phoenix, Ariz. The labs are dedicated to the understanding of immunologic reactions leading to graft rejection following human lung transplantation.
Lung transplantation, where diseased lungs are surgically replaced by healthy donor lungs, is a viable treatment option for patients with end-stage lung diseases. Unfortunately, long-term success from lung transplantation is limited due to assaults by recipient’s immune system that senses the transplanted organ as “foreign” leading to chronic rejection, clinically diagnosed as chronic lung allograft dysfunction (CLAD). Currently, there are no available treatment options for CLAD. Dr. Mohanakumar’s research group has been studying the underlying processes of lung transplant rejection more than 20 years and has made several discoveries in the understanding of immunologic mechanisms involved in graft rejection following organ transplantation.
The featured research unveils that monitoring of transcription factor Zinc finger and BTB domain-containing protein 7A (ZBTB7A) can be an early predictor of chronic rejection. This discovery fills the void of a reliable marker and concurrently it opens a new window of opportunities for diagnosis and prevention of CLAD. Its slow onset, lack of early diagnosis and uncontrollable progression have been the most confounding issues for post-transplant caregivers.
“Monitoring for ZBTB7A expression and devising a way to slow it down in lungs may be the way forward to detect and treat CLAD” said Dr. Mohanakumar, the Norton Thoracic Chair for Translational Sciences and Director of Norton Thoracic Institute Research Laboratory.Share